Monday, December 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

John Wayne patriotism a contrived ideal

By
From page A8 | June 02, 2014 |

A large man stepped into the lobby of the Holiday Inn, a crowd immediately surrounding him. Standing barely above John Wayne’s waist, being only 10 years old, I fought to obtain one of the autograph cards Duke was handing out as a diversion, while trying to weave his way through the throng of adoring humanity.

This was the most exciting event I had ever experienced in my hometown. Wayne’s movie “The Hellfighters” was being filmed below the red buttes at Bessemer Bend, just outside of town.

Wayne is seen as an iconic patriot, a prototypical gung-ho soldier, an American ideal, the embodiment of Texas, and the Old West cowboy come to life. There is, however, another classic movie star who better epitomizes American patriotism than Wayne – Jimmy Stewart.

The difference between Wayne and Stewart is the difference between image and reality. John Wayne had a great film persona; but his real life bore little resemblance to the Hollywood legend.

Duke’s real name was Marion Morrison, not very cowboy or masculine. He was not from Texas, Wyoming or the Wild West, but was born in Iowa and raised in Los Angeles. John Wayne did not grow up on a ranch, like Montanan Gary Cooper, but was a pharmacist’s son.

Duke portrayed rugged, self-made pioneers, but in real life attended the University of Southern California and enjoyed body-surfing.

Wayne often played tough-as-nails military men, but did everything possible to avoid service during World War II.

His mentor, director John Ford, enlisted early in the war even though he was nearly 40. Ford urged the actor to join him in uniform. Duke refused, saying he needed to make “just one more film.” John Wayne never served.

Wayne’s movie wife was frequently played by all-American Maureen O’Hara; but his three real-life wives were not U.S. citizens at the time of their marriages. When his third marriage was on the rocks, Wayne spent the last years of his life with his secretary, who was 34 years younger – not exactly a “family values” example.

Wayne’s height was likely accentuated by lifts in his boots. Even his signature walk does not seem original, but invented with the help of Ford early in Wayne’s career.

James Maitland Stewart was his real name, a descendent of Revolutionary and Civil War veterans. Jimmy was not impressive physically, but wiry, like a real cowboy.

When World War II began, Stewart was the first Hollywood star to enlist. He did not want to serve stateside, safe from harm, but volunteered for combat, flying more than 20 bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

Between 1941 and 1945, Jimmy Stewart did not make a Hollywood film because of his service, costing him millions of dollars. Wayne made 18 films during the war, including “Back to Bataan,” “The Fighting Seabees” and “Flying Tigers.” While Duke played soldiers in the movies, Stewart was risking his life in battle.

Returning from the war, Hollywood studios were eager to cast Stewart in military roles. Jimmy refused, not wanting to capitalize on his service. Jimmy Stewart remained in the Air Force Reserves for decades, eventually reaching the rank of general, a man of faith who did his duty without complaint or fanfare.

Jimmy only had one wife, remaining married to his sweetheart Gloria until her death. A staunch conservative politically, he was best friends with committed liberal Henry Fonda. Stewart accepted, liked and respected people, even those with whom he did not agree.

I have John Wayne’s autograph, but it is “The Man from Laramie” who carried a “Winchester ‘73,” demonstrating “How the West Was Won,” and showing us that “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jimmy Stewart, who better embodies American patriotism.

Whether liberals or conservatives, people of faith or atheists, politicians and common citizens, all of us would do well to follow Stewart’s example, focusing upon our actions instead of the image we project.

Posturing is easy, but true patriotism is shown by putting our lives on the line, doing those things that help our nation and our fellow Americans.

With Memorial Day behind us, and Flag Day and the Fourth of July to come, I say, rest in peace, Patriot Jimmy; and thanks from a grateful nation, to all who have selflessly served.

The Rev. Daniel Molyneux is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fairfield. Reach him by email at drcowboy@gmail.com.

The Rev. Dan Molyneux

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PornacJune 02, 2014 - 8:01 am

    Maybe so, but the Duke had a bigger gun!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • John AndersonJune 02, 2014 - 10:51 am

    Watch "The man who shot Liberty Valence" Best scent ever with Duke, Stewart and Lee Marvin...in the restaurant: "Pick it up, Valence"! Wow!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickJune 02, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    very good article REV. DAN usual reply from a few people. big difference between REAL heroes and Hollywood actors. CHECK OUT lee Marvin and a half dozen more who left Hollywood and enlisted for WW 2

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike kirchubelJune 02, 2014 - 6:41 pm

    There seems to be a lot of that fake patriot stuff going around lately.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJune 02, 2014 - 7:41 pm

    Americans? Patriots? Theres still those around?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 03, 2014 - 4:52 am

    Yes, like Warren Buffet when he said he should pay more taxes.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 03, 2014 - 4:58 am

    Or how about Brooksley Born, "the Cassandra of the derivatives crisis," who took on Wall Street and the Washington bully boys and lost her job when she was right and they were wrong.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike kirchubelJune 03, 2014 - 8:42 am

    The wall street bankers were not wrong. They made hundreds of billions of dollars both before their "crash" from the mortgages and derivitives and after, from the taxpayers. If you 'd read a certain book, you would see that this is what the big boys do, time after time after time after time after time after time. Always with the same results. It's just a business plan to soak the taxpayers and eliminate the competition. I may have left out an "after time" or two.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickJune 03, 2014 - 11:44 am

    I thought this was about hollywood

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Christmas comes early to San Marco Street park

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Travis squadron delivers Christmas gifts to East Tabor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Multiple car accident blocks I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Last-minute shopping at Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

Kitchen fire dislocates family for Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Famous Creations’ toy drive and cupcake sale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Timeline of events before and after NY cop deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

A look at the 2 NYC officers killed in ambush

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Exit poll: Ex-regime official is Tunisia’s new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Faust and the 2015 federal budget

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

 
Obama, surgeon general still losing to NRA

By Francis Wilkinson | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Let the music begin

By Colleen Britton | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
‘Hobbit’ goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Review: ‘The Interview’ deserves to be seen

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B7

Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
TVGrid Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Steelers, Packers win, move into playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders knock Bills out of playoffs with 26-24 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings snap 5-game losing skid, beat Lakers 108-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Burns gives Sharks late-night win over Blues in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

The Week Ahead: Not much of a break for Christmas

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Super-G crash makes Vonn wait in bid for record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL Roundup: Cowboys end 4-year drought, make playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
7 hurt when lightning strikes near Tampa Bay game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

India’s Arjun Atwal wins Dubai Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Documents: FSU QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

B.C. Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Bridge Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7